Saturday, December 15, 2018

Jeremiah 51

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 51. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • This chapter continues the prophecy of Babylon’s destruction from chapter 50 and begins with a message that Babylon will be “winnowed”. To winnow is to separate the wheat from its husk which is called “chaff”. When winnowers threw the mixture of wheat and chaff into the air, the wind blew away the worthless chaff while the wheat settled to the floor.
  • God promised that Babylon would be destroyed as punishment for everything Babylon would do to Israel. Even though Israel had turned their back on God, God promised he would not abandon his people.
  • Verses 15-19 discuss God’s greatness. His power, wisdom, and control over his creations are incomparable to anything human-made.
  • God would be judge, jury, and executioner against Babylon and Babylon would be emptied and ruined. The people of Israel who were exiled in Babylon were told not to panic when Babylon’s destruction began but that they must flee (see verses 46-50).
  • Because Jeremiah could not visit Babylon to deliver this message of destruction himself, he sent the message written on a scroll with a man Seraiah. After the scroll had been read aloud, it was also to be thrown into the river with a stone tied around it so that it would sink as a final visual of Babylon’s end.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In this final message from Jeremiah, we see God’s sovereignty and his judgment. Babylon had been allowed to oppress the people of Israel, but Babylon itself would be judged. Although God brings good out of evil, he does not allow evil to remain unpunished. The wicked may succeed for a while but they will always be judged.
  • God’s timing is often different than our own. The timing of his plan doesn’t always make sense to us and it is not always easy to trust him. Israel was overtaken and the people held captive for decades. God promises that all actions will be examined and he will determine the consequences but he does not promise that it will happen immediately.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • The holiday season can feel like there’s not enough time in the day. Shopping, parties, cards, families, cooking, the to-do list never ends. It’s also a season that encourages asking for what you want and expecting it at a certain time. What are you asking for this year? Financial comfort? Relief from an addiction? A partner to do life with? Today, take one minute to talk to God. Be honest with him about what is in your heart: the things you are frustrated with, the hopes you have for a brighter future, or the fears that the future will never come. Read Psalm 27:14 and ask God to help you trust in his timing.